If you know me, you’ll know that one of my favorite holidays is Christmas! I even have a personal tradition I’ve named “Decking Day” where I decorate my home for the holidays on November 1st. Don’t judge me, it’s been a long-standing tradition I’ll pass on to my kids!
One of the greatest things about living in Orlando is the holiday spirit! We may not have the biting Winter cold or snowfall, but we put on quite the festive show. There is plenty to do in the City Beautiful that can make your holiday season as magical as a Hallmark card. You just have to know where to look! Lucky for you, I’m a Christmas aficionado and can point you in the right direction.
Christmas at the Grand Floridian
I am a sucker for history and architecture, which is why I love visiting Disney’s Grand Floridian resort during the holidays. You’ll be taken back to the Victorian Era and experience an extravagant and sophisticated environment decorated beautifully for Christmas. Take pictures in front of the towering Christmas trees, marvel at the completely edible and functional 14 ft gingerbread house, enjoy fine dining, and some light Disney-themed shopping, there is even live music on select nights by a small orchestra playing Holiday favorites. Word of warning if you’ve never been to the Grand Floridian, parking is highly restricted to guests of the resort or to those with pre-scheduled dinner reservations. If you just want to stroll through the resort and enjoy the holiday decor, I highly suggest taking public transportation or grab an Uber/Lyft, otherwise, you will be turned away.
Holidays at Universal Studios Orlando Resort
Two of my favorite theme parks, especially during the holidays is Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This is especially true during the holidays. Enjoy a fun-filled day of thrills and excitement, and enjoy the beautiful scenery as the park is transformed for the holidays. If you’re lucky, you might even run into the Grinch in Seuss Landing and try your hand at convincing him not to steal Christmas. My favorite section of the parks? Harry Potter World — both Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure) and Diagon Alley (Universal Studios) are fully decked in Christmas cheer. You will certainly feel like you’re spending Christmas with Harry in this magical land of wizardry. Make sure to check out the Christmas light show at Hogwarts for an extra magical time.
Mather’s Social Gathering
Where the adults come out to play, Mather’s Social Gathering has always been a favorite spot of mine to grab a drink. This Prohibition era-styled speakeasy is especially amazing during the holiday season. Wear your best outfit, walk through the hidden door behind the bookshelf of a small library, and be immersed in a 1920s atmosphere decorated to the brim with garland, Christmas trees, and more. My favorite drink recommendation — the Bathtub Gin with hints of lavender and honey. You won’t regret it!
Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge
For a more whimsical Christmas atmosphere, head downtown to Frosty’s Christmas bar! A year-round Christmas-themed bar that’s sure to be a hit with your social group. Enjoy holiday-themed drinks like Apple Pie or Eggnog shots, or try out the alcoholic slushies for a wintery delight. If you stick around long enough, you might even find it snows in the bar! A true treat to put you in the Holiday Spirit.
Light Up UCF
The University of Central Florida always hosts a fun Christmas festival every year! Best experienced during nighttime, bring out your family and friends for an evening of holiday fun! Held in front of the UCF arena, the university always brings rides, ice skating, holiday activities, and live holiday music every year. You’re sure to have a blast!
The Nutcracker Ballet
Having been raised in Boston for most of my life, one of my favorite Christmas traditions was watching the Boston Ballet perform the Nutcracker. Luckily, Orlando has two extremely talented Ballet productions that put on the Nutcracker every year. Experience a classic Christmas tradition with friends and family either at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts or at the Orange County Convention Center. Both productions are great alternatives to those of the big city and are a blast to watch.
Now Snowing in Celebration
Here in Orlando, we never let the tropical climate ruin our holiday fun. The Disney-designed vintage town of Celebration puts on quite the holiday festivities during the holiday season. Experience ice skating, horse-carriage rides, Charles Dickens Carolers, Santa visits, light shows, and even SNOW (ok maybe it’s soapy snow, but hey… use your imagination). The event closes down streets so that families can enjoy a safe and fun evening while getting into the holiday spirit.
There is no shortage of holiday fun in Orlando, and I invite you to get into the Christmas spirit with me! Make this season a special time in your life and in the lives of those you love. Check out these super fun events, and let me know what you think!
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